Familiar Budget Shortfall Faces New Miss. Leaders

Mississippi lawmakers and Gov.-elect Phil Bryant will face a difficult task in crafting a state budget for the fiscal year that starts on July 1.

Bryant will propose a budget after taking office in January, but he has been vague about his plans. Lt. Gov.-elect Tate Reeves and likely House Speaker Philip Gunn also have made no specific proposals.

One legislative proposal would retain funding levels for public elementary and secondary schools as well as community colleges, but imposes funding cuts for other agencies that outgoing Gov. Haley Barbour said are unrealistically deep.

Lawmakers also will have to decide whether to renew a tax on hospital beds that funds Medicaid, and whether they want to change the state’s Public Employees Retirement System.

The Legislature convenes on Tuesday.